Former Reds and Wallabies forward Mark Connors previews Round 17 of Super Rugby.
TattsBet Super Rugby Round 17 Preview
Highlanders v Chiefs
Friday 27/6/14 @ 17:35
The 2013 champions, the Chiefs, have it all to play for or their finals chances look like slipping away. With both sides coming off losses in the last round of matches three weeks ago, I am leaning towards the home side, which has been more consistent all year. The Chiefs form on the other hand has kept fading, though they could surprise after a freshen up.
Pick: Home side to win but it will be close.
Reds v Rebels
Friday 27/6/14 @ 19:40
With Will Genia missing, it will be a big task for the Reds, playing away against a Rebels side that will be lifted by their new Wallaby players. Their last game win against the Highlanders was exceptional, and with Genia instrumental in that effort, others will have to step up here in his absence. I see enough talent in this side to win this, especially with a number of the Reds (signed to the Rebels next year) playing in front of their “next season's” coach.
Pick: Reds to win.
Hurricanes v Crusaders
Saturday 28/6/14 @ 17:35
With the New Zealand ladder very tight, every game is a must win, or you can kiss your season good-bye. The Crusaders will be lifted by the form of their All Black contingent, even though McCaw has been ruled out for a number of weeks. Dan Carter may even be a surprise selection, but the Crusaders will have to lift with a hungry Hurricanes side always very dangerous at home.
Pick: Crusaders to win.
Waratahs v Brumbies
Saturday 28/6/14 @ 19:40
The recent form of both sides has been good, and their Wallaby players have also excelled. The Brumbies however have a number of injury concerns, especially with Matt Toomua likely out and Stephen Moore out for the year. They will face a Tahs side brimming with confidence and looking for revenge after losing in Canberra earlier in the year.
Pick: Tahs to win well (pick of the week).
Force v Blues
Sunday 18/5/14 @ 3:10
This will be a tough game to call with the Force’s form having dipped before the break, while the Blues have been woeful all year. With little read on the Force’s form through the last three weeks, it is hard to know if they will hit the ground running. Tipping the Blues at any time this year has proven to be pure madness, but I do anticipate a better effort from them with their All Black Rep’s performing well, and their wider squad winning the international 10’s tournament in the break.
Pick: Force at home to keep in the finals race (but the Blues may be on the up.... finally).
Mark Connors, former Reds and Wallabies forward